Powburn villagers revive campaign for A697 speed camera

ALONG-RUNNING campaign to bring speed calming measures to a Northumberland village has been revived.

The A697 road through Powburn
The A697 road through Powburn

ALONG-RUNNING campaign to bring speed calming measures to a Northumberland village has been revived.

Residents of Powburn, which is dissected by the busy A697, have for years fought for action to try and address the speeds at which vehicles pass through, claiming lives were being put at risk.

Now, the fight has been taken up by a former traffic policeman who lives in the village.

Robbie Burn, who for seven years led the Northumbria Police unit which investigates fatal and serious accidents, has helped villagers in compiling a wishlist of measures they believe could slow cars and lorries travelling through.

A total of 38 residents – almost a quarter of Powburn’s 170 electorate – signed the written request, which has been presented to highways authority Northumberland County Council.

The request asks for a speed camera which would record drivers’ average speeds, signs which display the driver’s speed, and an island where people can cross among other measures. It also calls for a speed survey, with Mr Burn claiming a 2009 one was not acted on.

Public meetings have been held in the village, with 38 residents having attended the most recent one.

The request will be considered by the council’s North area committee at its meeting on Monday night.

Mr Burn, who spent 30 years in the force, will address the committee. The 58-year-old, who has lived in Powburn for four years, said: “It is the fact vehicles are speeding through the village at ridiculous speeds.

“If you come to the first two villages on the 697 (Longhorsley and Longframlington), they have both got speed cameras, road calming measures, they are both obviously covered by this Speedwatch campaign.

“Powburn has got nothing. The only thing Powburn has got is some painted signs on the road.

“They were put in so many years ago, you can not see them.

“We have illuminated 30 signs which go off when people are speeding but nobody takes any notice of them.

“We have got an awful lot of elderly people and children living into the village and there is nowhere for them to cross the road.

“I have difficulty crossing the road. You have really got to listen up because vehicles could be doing 60 and 70 miles per hour.

“The criteria is, for us to get a speed camera, somebody has got to get killed. The last thing we want is a fatal accident. I do not know what they cost, that will not be the cost of somebody getting killed.

“The idea is we can present this to the council, we have got a problem, they know we have got a problem.

“There is a real strong feeling in the village about it. We think it (a camera) would benefit the community.”

The campaign has been backed by Hedgeley Parish Council which has for years pressed for action, to no avail.

Chairman Stuart English said: “I think what Robbie is doing is great.”

The area committee will be told a response to the request will be presented to its meeting in June.

In 2007, The Journal reported how a fake speed camera put-up by a villager in a bid to slow traffic had to be removed after it was deemed illegal by the county council.

That came three years after an HGV crashed into a house in the village, the second such incident in seven years. Residents staged a march through the village following the most recent collision, demanding action.

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